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Posts Tagged ‘The Cop Myth’

Are we also going to ban [picking] peppers and asparagus?
–  Niels van den Berge

License to Rape

Police states define the bodies of all citizens as “crime scenes” which can be violated by “authorities” at will:

Denver police are [trying to cover up the rape of]…a man [who] was [an]ally [raped by a cop] while being arrested at a protest.  [Cops charged] Michael Jacobs…with disarming a police officer…[claiming] he violently resisted arrest and tried to disarm [his rapist] of a pepper ball gun…[in actuality the cop] used his…nightstick [to rape him]…Jacobs…otained a rape kit following the arrest…a doctor evaluated him two weeks after the incident, finding “rectal and anal hemorrhage”…

Torture Chamber (#997) 

Serial rape is just one of the fringe benefits afforded to screws in Florida:

…[screws] repeatedly sexually assaulted and [raped] the inmates at the…Coleman [cage stack] in [Florida]…In some cases…the [rapes went on regularly] for years…Six of the [rapists] admitted to [serially raping prisoners] but…were not prosecuted — instead, they were allowed to resign or retire, and some are still receiving benefits…

The Cop Myth (#1004)

41% of cops admit to beating their wives. Some don’t stop with mere beating:

Jay Allen Rotter, a [cop in] Tarrant County [Texas, murdered]…his girlfriend [and then claimed she] had shot herself…Police [tried to cover it up for several weeks before finally arresting]…Rotter…on September 14…

Dutch Threat (#1005)

A good general overview of political attacks on Dutch sex workers contains this welcome news:

…job satisfaction should not play a role in whether you deserve labor rights…In a striking twist [the Green Left Party, which has previously] voted in favour of [laws to register, surveil and control sex workers]…advocated decriminalisation of sex work…the Secretary of State promised to investigate various forms of sex work policy, including the New Zealand model of decriminalisation…such a study has already been done, with one of the most important conclusions being that sex workers should be listened to…

Quiet Genocide (#1023)

Meanwhile, the “enlightened” West just watches as a genocide progresses:

Turkey has been a safe haven for Uighurs fleeing persecution ever since the Chinese Communist Party took control of Xinjiang in 1949 and hosts one of the largest Uighur diaspora populations in the world.  Then came a sudden, unexpected switch…since early 2019, Turkey has arrested hundreds of Uighurs and sent them to deportation centers…Erdogan’s remarkable U-turn has a simple explanation:  His regime and Turkey’s economy are in crisis.  With few other friends, Ankara is counting on Beijing to patch things up…Once seen as a model of democracy and economic development in the region, Turkey is now an authoritarian country…Western companies and investors, once attracted to Turkey’s fast-growing economy and population, are staying away.  China’s appetite for expansion into Western Asia and Europe offers Erdogan a lifeline…China is now Turkey’s second-largest import partner after Russia.  China has invested $3 billion in Turkey between 2016 and 2019 and intends to double that by the end of next year…

The Implosion Begins

I did not foresee that the “sex trafficking” moral panic would implode in such a spectacular and entertaining fashion:

…Rather than enticing new recruits with the promise to unveil…secrets about the…Clintons and Obamas, #SaveOurChildren captures attention with [approved government] statistics about the prevalence of child sex trafficking [which have been endlessly repeated by media like The Guardian], then draws susceptible readers down the rabbit hole of increasingly implausible falsehoods…QAnon [uses the same]…blatantly false beliefs about [sex workers that] Democrats [have conspired with Republicans (and politicians of all parties in most other Western countries) to spread for two decades, then adds extra fantasies about elites] sexually abusing children in order to extract a life-extending chemical from their blood…The #SaveOurChildren version of QAnon has been particularly popular among a new coalition of anti-public-health activists who have been galvanized by the coronavirus pandemic…Facebook’s recommendation algorithm…helped facilitate cross-pollination between…dedicated to anti-vaccine activism, anti-coronavirus lockdowns and QAnon…[which then] infiltrated many online subcultures, including those formed around evangelical Christianity, New Age spiritualism and alternative medicine or “wellness”…

The Widening Gyre (#1074)

It’s fascinating to watch the media flailing against a hysteria they’ve worked for decades to create:

Cuties, which was a hit when it premiered at Sundance last year, tells the story of an 11-year-old girl…who strays from her strict conservative…Muslim upbringing to join a hip-hop dance troupe.  At its essence, Cuties is a coming-of-age narrative and a commentary on social media’s role in sexualizing children, but…[“sex trafficking” fetishists claim] that Cuties and its accompanying marketing materials were evidence of an underage child sex trafficking cabal in Hollywood.  It [i]s the kind of wild-eyed, hysterical allegation that…[for] years…[has] been promoted on…mainstream [media platforms and by] public figures and [profiteer] organizations…[to further a campaign to increase the power of the police state and censor the internet by] fuel[ing public hysteria about a mythical] child sex-trafficking trade…the discourse surrounding Cuties [is further evidence that control over this fantastical narrative has sh]ifted [to] the fringes [from] the mainstream…

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Scholars who pathologize sex workers in the classroom grant the state license to mete out gratuitous violence in the streets.  –  Rahsaan Mahadeo

Maggie in the Media

I was recently interviewed on an Australian sex worker radio show named Behind Closed Doors; it was originally supposed to be only one show, but Kitty, Dean & I were enjoying ourselves so much we just kept going and did a two-parter!  Here it is in podcast form (Part One & Part Two); I hope you enjoy listening as much as we enjoyed talking!

The Course of a Disease

The Swedish rot has reached Eastern Europe:

Since July 1, in Latvia…[prostitution is technically not] illegal  as politicians have been unable to reach a compromise on this issue…The only [criminalization] proposal has been submitted by the party alliance Attīstībai/Par! (AP!) and its sets forth punishing only the buyer of the prostitution services and not the person providing them.  The proposal is to be reviewed in the Interior Ministry. Following this process, the ministry plans to bring the draft law for discussion in the government…

The Notorious Badge

Critics just can’t resist inserting their own dumb beliefs about whores into even good reviews:

Alice, the feature debut from Australian writer-director Josephine Mackerras, is…a leftfield take on female empowerment…Alice…discovers that her husband has cleaned out their accounts and stopped paying their mortgage; a bit of digging later and she discovers the money has been spent on prostitutes…With the bank threatening to foreclose on her home and a huge sum to pay…Alice agrees to work for the very escort agency her husband favoured; there is quite simply nothing else that will keep the roof over her head…Mackerras’s take on prostitution won’t be for everyone, and it does sugar-coat the profession somewhat, but it’s a sympathetic and often gutsy portrait of a woman doing what she must, and surviving, even thriving…

Acknowledging that selling sex is pragmatic and lucrative is “sugar-coating”.

Feminists and Other Puritans

An excerpt from The Feminist War on Crime by Aya Gruber

…The feminist penal regimes implemented in the 1980s and 1990s are now entrenched institutions overseen by prosecutors…administrators, and for-profit actors with vested interests in their continued survival.  Politicians are certainly not apologizing for VAWA…[and] plenty of feminists…remain committed not just to upholding the existing feminist crime control regimes and closing “loopholes” in them but also to creating new ones—new antitrafficking laws, revenge-porn laws, laws against hosting prostitution ads, [etc]…Campus antirape sentiments have proven a boon to prosecutors eager to implement strict versions of affirmative consent…and expand pro-prosecution trial rules…some of the most ardent prison critics…proceed as if there were a carve-out to the mass incarceration critique for sexual misconduct—including, or perhaps especially, intoxicated sex or sex without affirmative consent—even though there is no such carve-out for aggravated assault, drug dealing, or even murder…

Wise Investment (#1024)

In every country, sex workers, clients & everyone else harmed by “prostitution stings” needs to keep suing over them:

Liberal scholar [and long-time critic of the Chinese Communist Party] Xu Zhangrun has hired two lawyers to prepare legal action against police who accused him of soliciting prostitution…Xu was dismissed by Tsinghua University in Beijing…after he was taken away by police who [claimed] that the…scholar had solicited prostitutes in the southwestern city of Chengdu last year.  Xu, who had taught at Tsinghua for 20 years, was sacked because of “moral corruption”…The law professor…[hired] lawyers Mo Shaoping and Shang Baojun, and former human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang…to represent him…in an attempt to overturn an administrative ruling b[ased on a]…confession…police [pretend he made but]…Xu [denies]…

The Cop Myth (#1045)

Sociologists may at last be admitting their role in creating the police state:

Now is the time for sociology to reckon with its role…in the production of a criminal legal system subsidized by Black captivity, dispossession, debt and death…Any academic attempt to distinguish between “good policing” and “bad policing” or “overpolicing” and “underpolicing” makes policing itself not just theoretically possible, but legitimate…The University of Minnesota has already committed to cutting ties with the Minneapolis Police Department.  Now it and other sociology programs around the country must take the next step by canceling carceral curricula…According to an American Sociological Association report, “criminology/delinquency” was the highest-ranked specialization sought by employers…in 2019.  Courses like “Deviant Behavior,” “Criminal Behavior and Social Control”…and “Juvenile Delinquency” not only legitimize state violence, but also employ academics…sociologists fail to consider how “deviance,” “delinquency,” “criminal” and “terrorist” still conjure up racialized images that cops…and [spooks]…use…to…justify the killing of people of color…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#1060)

Blaming bad behavior on an imaginary “addiction” is the opposite of accepting responsibility:

[Pennsylvania politician] Mike Folmer [was convicted on child pornography charges despite]…pleas [that the]…judge [should let him skate because Jesus]…Folmer [was]…sentence[d to 2 years in prison]…8 years on probation…[and] sex offender [registration] for 15 years…[his] defense attorney [also made the bizarre argument that he should be let off easy because he is a career sociopath]…“He had an addiction to pornography,” [attorney Brian] Perry said…Folmer [demonstrated his megalomania]…to the judge…[by comparing himself to] King David…

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I exonerated tons of cases that involved awful conduct.  –  Dan Bodah

Here’s a funny look at something I’ve been pointing out for decades now, provided by Marc Randazza; the links above the video were supplied by Amy Alkon, Thaddeus Russell, Franklin Harris and Jesse Walker, Walter Olson, and Jesse Walker again, in that order.

From the Archives

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It’s disheartening to see Twitter side with the police against researchers, journalists, and the public.  –  Emma Best

Pathologization

The abuses committed by the “therapeutic state” are rarely so blatant:

A 16-year-old boy [locked in] a Los Angeles County [cage stack] developed enlarged breasts after he was [forced to take] estrogen [against his will to make him docile]…a move that baffled doctors who said the [so-called] treatment defied medical logic…The teen…was [claimed to have “]oppositional defiant disorder[“, a label invented to medicalize teens’ natural resentment of being treated like children]…Medical records…show that the teen’s testosterone levels were “slightly high” when the doctor [assigned to control] him prescribed daily doses of estrogen…After taking approximately 13 daily doses of the hormone, the teen was diagnosed with gynecomastia…James McGough, a professor of clinical psychiatry at UCLA…[said]“You won’t find a reference anywhere that supports the use of estrogen for ODD”…The doctor who prescribed the estrogen, Danny Wang, [is being sued along with the county by the young man, who]…will require surgery to treat the [malformity]…Wang prescribed a daily regimen of 2 milligrams of estrogen…without the parents’ consent…

2 mg of estrogen is roughly 4x the typical amount taken for hormone replacement by post-menopausal women.

Lying Down With Dogs (#412)

What other country does this sound like?

In mid-June, Tunisian Islamic political party El-Karama launched an initiative to ban all forms of sex work in the country and penalise sex workers…[using the moronic excuse of] “the dignity of…woman”… “Political parties [used to] shun sex work issues. It’s a taboo subject,” says Souhaila Bensaid, founder of the Tunisian Association for Positive Prevention (ATP+) for sexual and reproductive health. But increased animosity against sex workers over the past decade has turned into “a moralistic crusade,” according to Bensaid, leaving women in increasingly precarious situations with little to no protection…

Censor Chic (#882)

Corporations are becoming the favored tool of censors around the world:

Twitter has banned the account of the collective that published almost 270 gigabytes of leaked documents from police departments all over the country…Emma Best, the founder of Distributed Denial of Secrets…said that Twitter had taken down the official account of the DDoSecrets collective, which is made of activists, journalists, and technologists…when a Twitter user now clicks on a link that leads to the DDoSecrets’ site, it’s redirected to a warning that labels it as “unsafe”…“it’s disheartening to see Twitter side with the police against researchers, journalists, and the public”…[said] Best…

Forward and Backward (#894)

A prohibitionist attempt to destroy the Leeds red light district has been defeated:

The University of Huddersfield…[was] tasked…with investigating how effective the [Leeds] Managed Approach (MA) was, amid [attempts by] some [politicians to]…abandon…[it] altogether…the review concluded: “The MA was found to be more effective at reducing the impact of problems associated with on-street sex working than any other approach or model.  There are currently no alternative models or approaches that promise to be more effective and which fit within existing UK law on sex working”…[unfortunately NIMBY] residents [have] stag[ed] regular protests…[using the usual hackneyed claims of] littering and soliciting creeping into residential areas

The Cop Myth (#1004)

41% of cops admit to beating their wives. Some don’t stop with beating:

[A] Dover [New Hampshire cop named Ronald Letendre beat his wife] Sarah [so severely he broke four of her ribs, then had her arrested] and charged her with domestic violence [on him]…the…husband…is a[lso]…a…former MMA (mixed martial arts) fighter…[since] the incident…The…police are…con[tinuing to harass]…Sarah…stopp[ing] her vehicle [and trying to brutalize and re-arrest her on bullshit charges]…Fortunately [s]he…was [able to escape] and…ha[s] not yet [been tracked down by]…police…

The Mote and the Beam (#1016)

Hawley has a long history of spouting self-aggrandizing lies about sex workers:

When Missouri police raided several Springfield massage parlors in 2017, as…Josh Hawley…tells it, it was a righteous rescue mission led by a promising young attorney general who would later go on to become a rising Republican star in the U.S. Senate…While this tale nicely reinforces Hawley’s long-standing preoccupations with public morality  and Chinese hegemonythe evidence doesn’t back up his version of events.  The real story is one about police and prosecutor overreach at the expense of potentially vulnerable immigrants, followed by grandstanding and falsehoods from a senator intent on rewriting his own history.  Three years after the initial raids, Missouri has [only] managed to elicit six guilty pleas to misdemeanor offenses against the state’s massage licensing law…Hawley’s…raids…[were] largely based on…the fact that they all advertised on the now-seized classified ad site Backpage

Safe Position (#1042)

Under the current zeitgeist, Swedish model pushers are being increasingly seen as the copsuckers they are:

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz [lied during] her campaign [by] promis[ing] to end the criminalization of sex work…[in reality she is pursuing a Swedish criminalization strategy…Amnesty International found in a study published in 2016, that [this] Model violate[s] the rights of sex workers by creating an atmosphere of fear built upon surveillance, evictions, and deportations…

Quiet Genocide (#1054)

Are Western media finally going to stop tiptoeing around calling this what it is?

Two recent disturbing events may finally awaken the world to the scale and horror of the atrocities being committed against the Uighurs…One is an authoritative report documenting the systematic sterilization of Uighur women.  The other was the seizure by U.S. Customs…of 13 tons of products made from human hair…forcibly removed from Uighurs imprisoned in concentration camps.  Both…evoke chilling parallels to past atrocities elsewhere, forced sterilization of minorities, disabled, and Indigenous people, and the image of the glass display of mountains of hair preserved at Auschwitz.  The Genocide Convention, to which China is a signatory, defines genocide as specific acts against members of a group with the intent to destroy that group in whole or in part.  These acts  include (a) killing; (b) causing serious bodily or mental harm; (c) deliberately inflicting conditions of life to bring about the group’s physical destruction; (d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; and (e) forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.  Any one of these…constitutes genocide.  The overwhelming evidence [is that] Chin[a’s]…campaign [against]…the Uighur people…meets [all] of the[m]…Over a million…Uighurs are…subjected to electrocution, waterboarding, repeated beatingsstress positions, and injections of unknown substances…The repeated government orders to “break their lineage, break their roots, break their connections, and break their origins”…demonstrate a clear intent to eradicate the Uighur people as a whole…

Disqualified

Twitter accidentally admitted what everyone already knew:

[Last week]s hack of a large number of prominent Twitter accounts — which led to the company’s disabling of…verified…accounts for part of the day — also resulted in the unexpected confirmation of the practice known by users as “shadowbanning,” and by Twitter as “blacklisting”…the secret re-categorization of certain Twitter accounts, without the knowledge of the affected user or their followers, so that they do not show up in searches, predictive auto-complete fields or trending topics.  Even though…companies like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have in the past denied knowing what “shadowbanning” meant, large numbers of sex workers…are verifiably victims of this…practice…a…Motherboard article…[showed] a screencapture from Twitter’s back-end reveal[ing] some accounts labeled under “Trends Blacklist” and “Search Blacklist”…[reporter Samantha] Cole explained…“A Twitter spokesperson told Motherboard on the phone that these blacklists are the same ones it explained in 2018 (though it didn’t use the term ‘blacklist’ at the time and has not used that word publicly)”…

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It will probably come as no surprise to my readers that I’ve never liked cop glorification shows.  Even before I was old enough to understand why glorifying state enforcers was wrong, and before I was wise enough to recognize that such shows constitute propaganda for a stage-four “might makes right” weltanschauung, they made me uneasy for reasons I could not adequately express.  So while one my little sisters was glued to Adam-12 (and later ChiPs), and another never missed an episode of Starsky and Hutch, I went off to my room to read.  When one of my university boyfriends told me about the now-infamous Dirty Harry “make my day” sequence, I feigned polite disinterest to cloak not-so-polite disgust, but a decade later, when I came home once to find Jack watching Cops, I flew into a barely-articulate rage whose character you can probably guess without any further elaboration on my part.  Such shows, going back at least to Dragnet, Highway Patrol and The Untouchables, have always put lipstick on pigs and presented cops as heroic and principled defenders of the weak from villainous “criminals” with less character development than Snidely Whiplash, incorruptible white knights who would never ever ever rob or frame people, lie under oath, stalk or even rape women, or brutalize, maim and murder people, sometimes by literally shooting them in the back.  But while other popular ’50s genres such as westerns, family sitcoms, anthology shows and science fiction have either largely vanished or dramatically changed, cop glorification shows have only proliferated; it seems like every second or third time I run into a television set somewhere, it’s showing an episode of either C.S.I. or Law & Order: SVU (usually with a storyline involving a dead hooker).  And every time that has happened since the advent of ubiquitous video recording a few years ago, I’ve idly wondered how the hell such shows, even in the deeply-authoritarian US, could have developed so little since Jack Webb’s Joe Friday deadpanned, “Just the facts, ma’am” (except for the cops becoming even more unbelievably competent via magical “forensics”).  Well, recently I read an article on just that subject which interviewed a number of writers, directors, and other staff from such shows, and…well, it’s not pretty.  Here are a few short passages to whet your appetite:

No one has done more to propagate the myth of the hero cop than the writers of network-television police procedurals.

“I was told pretty early on to avoid dirty cops as story points.”

“We are in the hero business. There have been times when I’ve felt complicit in what is, essentially, a police department’s PR campaign…If we show B-roll footage, you’re going to see a cop doing a hero walk and getting into his car like a cowboy; we’re not going to show him swinging a baton at some kid on the sidewalk.”

“…we reinforce the idea that police are good so that the world is exactly the way the people in our audience want to believe it is…we rationalize it because this is our job.  Even if we know it’s wrong.”

“…we have a police technical consultant…and if the director doesn’t know how to block a certain scene, our consultant becomes the arbiter of what is realistic…he always makes sure we manufacture a reason why the cop would have…the right to get violent.  We always have to make sure we show the guy reaching toward his pocket for a gun.”

“For the sake of storytelling, we create myths.”

“The truth is, the day-to-day work of a police officer isn’t exciting enough for television, so we dramatize it.”

The common yokel considers my job degrading, but I’m not the one getting paid to lie about violent thugs so the public stays asleep while a vast police state is constructed around them.

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Police killing is not the work of vigilant warriors defending society…and sometimes going too far: it is the…petty tyranny of a taxpayer-funded bureaucratic lobby group.  –  Lyman Stone

The Proper Study (#652)

Another study proves what sex workers have been saying all along:

In a new study just published in The Journal of Sex Research…men…said paid sex offered them a space where they could overcome their insecurities and low self-esteem and sidestep their awkwardness in approaching women…paid sex allowed for a shared understanding of what was (and was not) going to follow sex.  Both the man paying for sex and the sex worker understood the nature of the transaction…with a sex worker, men said they did not worry about being sexually inexperienced…Some men indicated that through paid sex they actually could learn new sexual skills that they might use with other women in other circumstances…Paid sex was also described as giving some men a non-threatening context where they felt safe to engage in sex despite their sexual concerns, including the fear of being unable to have an erection…The findings further expand [academic] ideas of what it is that men are really buying when they pay for sex and suggests [amateurs]…underestimate the amount of emotional labor that goes into sex work…

I Spy (#958)

A politician claims that spying isn’t actually spying:

A secretive unit of the Maine State Police…gather[s] information about groups and organizations even when they are not suspected of crimes, including people who are participating in protests…Michael Sauschuck, the [chief pig] commissioner of…Maine…testified at a…legislative hearing about…a federal whistleblower lawsuit filed by a state trooper…[who] was retaliated against after reporting that the intelligence unit illegally used surveillance tools to monitor innocent citizens…Sauschuck refused to directly respond to the allegations in the lawsuit…but…acknowledged under questioning that the center does [spy] on citizens, including groups that organize public protests…[yet still claimed]  “We’re not spying on people”…the Maine State Police might be using powerful new technologies to scan your face and intercept your cellphone signals, and don’t have to tell the public because of an unusual provision in state law…the center…also…participated in the “See Something, Say Something” campaign, which involves [ratting out people they spy on]…to federal agencies [based on flimsy suspicions and]…racial profiling…

The Missing Word (#981)

If only there were a concise word for smuggling humans to sell them:

…Paul Petersen plead guilty to the offense of Conspiracy to Smuggle Illegal Aliens for Commercial Advantage and Private Financial Gain…Petersen…orchestrated the travel of several pregnant women from the Republic of the Marshall Islands to the Western District of Arkansas…to arrange adoption of their children by families living in the United States…[even though that’s illegal under a] 1983 [compact between] the United States…and…the…RMI…

The Monsters Are Due (#1040)

The ugliest part of a peak moral panic: lynch mobs:

After a chaotic saga unfolded…centering around two missing teenage girls and a [Milwaukee house fantasized to be] a sex trafficking hub…police said…there is no indication the girls were ever there — or that the house was used for such activity.  The girls, ages 13 and 15, were found by one of their mothers more than three miles away…[but before that] three people [were] shot — including two 14-year-olds — plus…a house [was] set on fire twice and an unknown number of [people were] hurt by the tear gas and rubber bullets police fired into a scattered crowd…

Whimsical Notions (#1051)

Since the “trafficked slaves” myth isn’t getting results any more, the government is now claiming sex workers are actually spies:

Trafficked women in Bahrain, some working as prostitutes, are seeking to collect sensitive intelligence from U.S. sailors that they can later sell, according to [NCIS spook]…Joe Minucci…in [an indoctrination video]…“they sell that information, and that’s how they make more money in order to get themselves out of the [lucrative job] they’re in,” he said…

Bread and Circuses (#1051)

FOSTA just keeps splashing egg all over the feds’ stupid, violent faces:

For years leading up to the passage of FOSTA, we were told that Congress had to pass the law…because so many women were “at risk” due to trafficking….[on] Backpage…of course, the actual stats that were provided turned out to be fake and Backpage was seized before the law was even passed.  The charges against the founders did not include sex trafficking charges…with all of the moral panic around the need to pass FOSTA,…the DOJ had not used the law a single time to go after any “sex trafficking” site.  Instead, as we predicted, the law was being used in nuisance lawsuits…Finally…the DOJ made use of FOSTA in shutting down a website and arresting its operator…the DOJ conveniently mashes together sex work and sex trafficking, because that’s the kind of thing law enforcement likes to do…[so] plenty of…sex workers, who previously had relied on Backpage to remain safe and now relied on Martono’s sites, are again put in danger.  The Hacking/Hustling collective…put out a press release calling out what a stupid, counterproductive move this is…

The Cop Myth (#1052)

Even political conservatives are beginning to recognize the danger of police violence:

[Cops murder] about 1,700 Americans every year.  In other words, police killings have made up about one out of every twelve violent deaths of Americans between 2010 and 2018…including American military deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere during that window.  Indeed, more Americans died at the hands of [cops] during that period (about 14,400) than died while on active military duty (about 9,400).  Police violence in America is…disproportionate to the actual threats facing [cops]…historically, police unionization has led directly to increases in police killings, but no change in crime…When incompetent DMV workers are not fired, when abusive teachers are reshuffled around schools, when bureaucrats use administrative gimmicks to thwart the electorate’s desire to rein in excessive spending, we conservatives are quick to (correctly!) identify the pernicious work of public-sector unions.  Whereas all workers should have some say in their employment conditions, such as via unionization, public-sector workers already get a say in their employment conditions without a union: they get to vote on who their boss is!  Public sector unions give the bureaucrats double the “votes” of the rest of us…The difference is that, unlike other public sector unions, police unions have military-grade equipment they can use to violently crush protests against their abuses, and they are legally immune from most consequences.  They’re teachers’ unions, but with tanks and endless get-out-of-jail-free cards…

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Collaborating with the police is not something…a mathematician should be doing.  –  Jayadev Athreya

Fallen Idol (#792)

These charges followed the accusations by almost three years:

Porn star Ron Jeremy has been charged with sexually assaulting four women on four separate occasions dating back to 2014…Jeremy…is accused of sexually assaulting two women at a bar in West Hollywood in 2017, and of forcibly raping another woman at that same bar during the summer of 2019.  He is also accused of forcibly raping a woman at a home in West Hollywood…In 2017…more than a dozen women had come forward accusing [him]…of sexual misconduct, including groping, inappropriate touching, nonconsensual digital penetration, and sexual assault.  Most of the women accusing him were in the adult industry…[one of them,] former adult performer Jennifer Steele, [said]…“[He] know[s] if someone’s a porn star and they say they’ve been raped, people aren’t gonna take it seriously”…

Lack of Evidence (#900) 

Removing excuses cops use to persecute people is always a good thing:

The Seattle City Council voted unanimously…to repeal the law [against “loitering” for the purpose of prostitution]…following a 2018 recommendation from a working group on reentry problems faced by people exiting incarceration.  “The prostitution loitering ordinance has a discriminatory legacy that impacted primarily people of color, women and our LGBTQ community,” said [politician Andrew] Lewis in a statement. “I’ve received hundreds of emails from constituents almost uniformly in favor of repealing these ordinances”…

Welcome to the Future (#916)

I’m afraid they’ve discovered their moral compasses at least 20 years too late:

…A group of mathematicians in the United States has written a letter calling for their colleagues to stop collaborating with police because of the widely documented disparities in how US law-enforcement agencies treat people of different races and ethnicities.  They concentrate their criticism on predictive policing, a maths-based technique…[that pretends to be able to] stop…crime before it occurs.  The letter, dated 15 June, is addressed to the trade journal Notices of the American Mathematical Society (AMS), and…more than 1,400 researchers have now joined the call.  In recent years, mathematicians, statisticians and computer scientists have been developing algorithms that crunch large amounts of data and [pretend] to help police reduce crime…the mathematicians write in the letter. “It is simply too easy to create a ‘scientific’ veneer for racism”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#979)

To the state, facial recognition systems’ false positives aren’t a bug; they’re a feature:

On a Thursday afternoon in January, Robert Julian-Borchak Williams was in his office at an automotive supply company when he got a call from the Detroit [cop shop demanding he] come to the station to be arrested.  He thought…it was a prank…[until] he pulled into his driveway…[and] a p[igmobile] pulled up behind, [vomiting out]…two [pigs who then insulted] and [brutalized] Mr. Williams…in front of his wife and two young daughters…[before dragging him] to a [cage and putting his biometric information into a database from which it will never be removed despite the fact that they were trying to frame him for grand theft based on]…a still image from a surveillance video…[which] was clearly not Mr. Williams…his case may be the first known account of an American being wrongfully arrested based on a flawed match from a facial recognition algorithm…

Working From Home

Most porn performers have long had to supplement film income with outside work:

…When COVID-19 shut down the adult entertainment industry, performers fell back on many of the things they were already doing, creating and selling content directly to their fans.  Realizing professional porn isn’t necessary for a lucrative career, many performers are now making even more money in a safe environment they control…the promise of [higher] payment may not be enough to entice performers back to set.  Three years after allegations of sexual assault enveloped the reputations of James Deen and Ron Jeremy, arguably the most iconic male performers of their generations, new alarms are being raised among female performers…women in the industry are speaking out on social media, exposing a rash of predatory behavior from companies, directors, and in some cases their agents.  Liberated from institutional misogyny, performers are creating content and cashing in on themselves for once, and not without a discernible sense of schadenfreude…

To Molest and Rape (#1047)

Notice how often rapist cops’ victims are underage?

A…Harris County [Texas cop attempted to molest]…a teen girl he was assigned to investigate after she was reported as a runaway.  Aaron Isaac Mayes…went to the [girl’s] home…in March…to speak with the girl’s mother…[and] discovered the girl was at home and not missing…the mom [later] told investigators Mayes seemed interested in [her daughter], but [idiotically] believed he simply cared “beyond the scope of the law enforcement duties…in a healthy way”…[but her] daughter…[showed her] screenshots from Instagram conversations…[with] Mayes, which included [dick pics and]…an exchange in which Mayes offered her $80 in cash…[which] Mayes [claimed was] trying to…help her avoid…prostitution [by paying her for sex]…

The Cop Myth (#1047)

A few statistics to further dispel the myth of heroic cops:

…Americans have witnessed video after video of cops assaulting unarmed demonstrators and even bystanders unlucky enough to cross their path…Many try to explain away cases like these as “isolated incidents” carried out by “bad apples”…[but] if anything, most public discussions may be too narrow and myopic to capture how extreme, pervasive, and multifaceted police abuse of power actually is…So far this year, 481 civilians have been shot to death by police in the United States…Since 2015, cops fatally shot at least 352 people who were unarmed (that is, not even possessing a toy, blunt object, or other instrument)…hundreds more civilians are killed by cops every year with taserspepper sprayrubber bulletschokeholdspositional asphyxiablunt force trauma, [pigmobiles] and other causes…Deaths…only represent a small fraction of overall police violence…at least 985,300 Americans experienced non-lethal threats or use of force from police in a single year:…There are also widespread…rapes, sexual assault, and sexual harassment incidents [committed by] on-duty cops every year…many more cases likely go unreported…cops also regularly commit crimes, and carry out violence, when they are off duty.  For instance, rates of domestic abuse are as much as four times higher among law enforcement than in the broader population…The level of aggression cops deploy in an area seems to have no correlation with that area’s level of violent crime—nor does it seem proportional to the actual danger law enforcement agents face on the job…the overall line-of-duty law enforcement homicide rate…[is] 9.74 per 100,000 officers…the homicide rate for men…[in the general population is] 9.5 per 100,000.  That is, police officers were just a little more likely to be a victim of homicide in the line of duty than the typical American male living his day-to-day life…

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As I’ve repeatedly stated over the past ten years, cops are not only not protectors of women; they are an active menace to women.  They regularly stalk and sexually harass women, and that often escalates to rape, a crime for which they only rarely face any consequences even when they don’t claim the rape was “consensual sex“, a “search“, or a “prostitution investigation“.  They beat their wives with horrifying regularity, and have apparently no compunctions against violently attacking or restraining women who pose them absolutely no physical threat.  And yet probitionists want to give these deranged perverts even more power over women’s lives.  For four decades I’ve talked about this, only to be repeatedly dismissed as a crank, a political extremist, or simply a whore with an axe to grind (sometimes all three).  But thanks to the current zeitgeist, it has now become possible for a woman whose name isn’t Maggie McNeill to publish something like this:

…the notion that abolishing the police will have negative repercussions for women radically misunderstands both American policing and sexual violence.  Police abolition need not be considered an abdication of the responsibility to protect women, but rather a way to fulfill it…police…frequently use the privileges and protections of their job to hurt women with impunity.  Police households have dramatically higher rates of domestic violence than other homes, with approximately 40% [beating their wives], compared with roughly 10% of the general population.  Worse, women beaten by cop partners often have no one to call:  the very people they are told to seek help from are the friends and colleagues of their abusive husbands and boyfriends.  And if their abuser is a cop, he has a gun, knows the locations of women’s shelters, and knows how to shift the blame to his victim if she seeks help…The police also have a tendency to commit sexual violence on the job…sexual violence is the second most commonly reported kind of police misconduct…A large, unaccountable group of primarily men, empowered to commit violence to maintain existing hierarchies of power, is not going to end the scourge of sexual violence against women.  As feminists, we must recognize that the police are more likely to hurt women than to help us…

If “feminists” had spent more time listening to sex workers and less gazing into their own navels, they’d have understood that 50 years ago instead of conspiring with armed rapists against other women.  But you know what?  I’m not actually bitter.  I’m just glad these dumb bunnies are beginning to wake up, albeit decades too late.

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Sex workers are not a thought experiment.  –  Kai Cheng

Monsters

Violence against trans people is getting mainstream attention:

The NYPD drone circling over the protest outside the Brooklyn Museum [on June 14th] must have only picked up a sea of white.  That’s the color protestors were asked to wear to rally and march silently in the wake of the deaths of Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, Riah MiltonTony McDade, and countless other Black trans victims of police brutality and civilian violence.  The event featured speakers from the Okra Project, the Marsha P. Johnson InstituteFor the GworlsGLITS, and Black Trans Femmes in the Arts, as well as the family and loved ones of Layleen Polanco…Many of the people gathered had their own stories of police brutality to tell, but that didn’t stop them from showing up for the Black trans community…

Nothing To Be Proud Of

More queer sex workers are remembering that Pride commemorates a riot:

Sex work gave me a livelihood and autonomy…and…sex workers taught me resilience and self-worth.  Queer “community,” with its endless callouts and purity politics, has never come close to doing that…Maybe you came here expecting a congenial, well-reasoned article patiently defending the virtues of sex work as a profession and politely asking for solidarity.  This isn’t that article.  That article has already been written, several times, by several different authors.  That article should have changed all of your minds already about the fact that sex workers are human beings who deserve basic human rights, but apparently it didn’t, so here we are.  Still criminalized, still stigmatized, still by and large ignored by mainstream “LGBT community,” despite the fact that transfeminine sex workers such as Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera are the reason that we have Pride in the first place.  People love the idea that sex workers need saving.  A lot of money, power, and attention goes into that idea – not to sex workers, but to our would-be saviors…In order to [really help], though, anti-sex work activists and police would have to actually care about sex workers’ actual lives, as opposed to their self-image as Real Life Heroes™ rescuing us from evil human traffickers…

Do Not Tolerate Domestic Violence

Government as domestic abuser is a very useful metaphor:

For ages the Democratic Party and its allies have been actively manipulating leftwardly-inclined Americans away from issues which might inconvenience the powerful — issues like economic justice, anti-imperialism, slashing the military budget, ending government surveillance and police militarization, and actually getting money out of politics…The powerful do not care if you have an abortion. They do not care how many bullets your gun can hold, they do not care if two guys get married or what gender pronouns you use, and they do not care if everyone is a racist or if no one is.  They care about maintaining and expanding their ability to exert control over other people…But…[now] people aren’t just out protesting racism, they’re calling for the complete dismantling of the entire police state…And the nice guy abusers are falling all over themselves to manipulate them back into their cage…Liberal narrative managers manipulated the people into understanding that they are only allowed to care about issues like sexism, LGBT rights, and racism.  The people responded by saying “Okay, well then we demand that you dismantle the entire police state because it is racist.”  Through all the confusion and fog of a lifetime of ingesting establishment propaganda, the people have still managed to find one solid strand of “no” that they know the nice guy abuser can’t actually forbid them from holding onto…

Quiet Genocide

Mainstream Western media are still largely ignoring China’s atrocities in Xinjiang:

…Formally an autonomous region of China, [Xinjiang] is today practically the largest internment camp in the world…Xi [Jinping] instructed the cadres of the Communist Party of China to “show absolutely no mercy” to its Uighur Muslim population.  The regime that now decries any allusion to the genesis of the coronavirus as bigoted then proceeded to describe Islam as a “virus”.  And its prescription for the eradication of this pathogen…was the swift “hospitalisation” of Muslims in indoctrination camps…up to 20 prisoners are packed into every cell.  Heads shaved, hands and feet bound at all times, they are permanently watched by cameras.  Their day begins at 6am and ends after midnight.  Their meals consist of gruel — except on Friday, the holiest day of the week for Muslims, when they are served pork, forbidden by Islam — and they are granted two minutes a day to relieve themselves in a communal bucket.  The remaining hours are devoted to the performance of rituals intended to purge them of their religious and ethnic identity.  They must master Mandarin, the language of their overlords; soak themselves in party propaganda; atone for who they are by confessing to their existence as a crime; and endlessly chant slogans pledging subservience to Han supremacy: I love China! Thank you, Communist Party! I love Xi Jinping!…Inmates are made to sit on chairs embedded with metal spikes, starved, and suspended from ceilings and flogged with electric truncheons; their fingernails are prised with pliers, their skin is pierced with needles, and their bodies are pumped with mysterious medicine.  “Good” behaviour cannot bring relief from this ordeal because it is impossible for the captives to know what defines “good” behaviour…All that stands between the inmates and the torture chamber is the mood of the prison guards…There is no emancipation even in death from the humiliations…in addition to destroying and disfiguring Muslim places of worship, [China] also razes their graves

Silver Lining

My answer to the titular question: “I certainly hope not”:

…the anti-trafficking community has been largely silent on the blossoming conversation on police brutality…While some organizations have put out blanket statements about Black Lives Matter and racism, these…have not addressed the field’s entrenchment with law enforcement, or the use of anti-trafficking to re-brand abusive police forces/tactics and expand the police statecan a field that relies on carceral penalties and approaches even be saved from its pro-police roots?  The history of the anti-trafficking field has revolved around the decision to take social justice problems and apply a criminal justice answer…This decision to…center…law enforcement and criminal justice-based interventions was concretized through legislation which incentivized joint approaches between service providers and law enforcement and primarily defined success as convictions…

Social Distancing (#1031)

The Japanese are much more sensible about sex than Americans:

…nightclubs across Japan are trying to come to terms with in the age of COVID-19, as they roll out a raft of anti-infection measures to shed their newfound notoriety as hotbeds for virus clusters.  The industry [was ready]…for the full lifting [last] Friday of Tokyo’s business closure requests, which…pave[d] the way for host clubs and hostess bars…to officially reopen for the first time in months.  In reality, a number of nightclubs had already resumed business to protect the livelihoods of employees.  But…many parlors [are now] taking a stab at the new safety guidelines issued by the government on how to coexist with the pandemic…

The Cop Myth (#1049)

A Reason interview with Reason alumnus Radley Balko:

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Fundamental[ly]…policing [is]…a state institution that’s predicated on the use of violence to fix problems.  –  Alex Vitale

What Were You All Waiting For? 

Is the ACLU finally beginning to do the right thing, at long last?

Sex workers aren’t always a part of [amateurs’] conversation about police brutality, but they should be.  Police regularly target, harass, and assault sex workers or people they think are sex workers…[and] usually get away with the abuse because sex workers fear being arrested if they report. If we lived in a world that didn’t criminalize sex work, sex workers could better protect themselves and seek justice when they are harmed.  Protecting sex workers from police violence is just one of the reasons we need to decriminalize sex work…

To Molest and Rape

A murderer is also a rapist.  Gee, what a surprise:

…one of three white officers accused in the death of Breonna Taylor…[also molested at least] two women [in the past.  Brett Hankinson]…is…a dirty cop [who has also carried out] vendetta[s by] arrest[ing people he dislikes on trumped-up charges]…the more recent sexual assault…[was] against…a woman [named]…Margo Borders w[ho reported that Hankinson] …”drove me home [from a bar] in uniform, in his marked car, invited himself into my apartment and sexually assaulted me while I was unconscious”…In the second instance…Emily Terry…”began walking home from a bar intoxicated.  A [cop] pulled up next to me and offered me a ride home…He began making sexual advances towards me…As soon as he pulled up to my apartment building, I got out of the car and ran to the back”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#903) 

Amazon wants to have its cake and eat it too:

We’re implementing a one-year moratorium on police use of Amazon’s facial recognition technology.  We will continue to allow organizations like Thorn, the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and Marinus Analytics to use Amazon Rekognition to [persecute sex workers] and [pass the information on to the cops]…

In other words, Amazon is adopting a cosmetic ban in order to take advantage of the anti-cop zeitgeist while simultaneously profiting from helping notorious fascist anti-sex organizations to persecute sex workers and pass the information along to their pig buddies.

Silver Lining

Another sign that the moral panic may be dying:

For the second year in a row, the number of federal human trafficking cases…has dropped after almost two decades of increases…Overall, federal p[er]secutions of [people using the excuse of] human traffick[ing] have dropped by about a third since 2017…The decrease came entirely from a drop in prosecutions of sex trafficking…which has consistently made up the majority of federal human trafficking prosecutions since the TVPA was enacted.  The number of labor trafficking cases has remained roughly the same, [because unike “sex trafficking” they are based in reality]…The number of new sex trafficking cases, meanwhile, dropped from 207 in 2017 to just 136 filed in 2019…

Working From Home (#1045)

Moloch (#1047) 

Contrast with Oregon and other states which are finally moving to protect students from police violence:

…thousands of small children who are led out of schools in handcuffs every year around the country.  Juvenile arrests in Florida have been steadily declining over the last decade, as they have been more generally across the U.S., but…the state embarked on an aggressive plan to “harden” its…[treatment of students], including putting at least one [armed, dangerous thug] in every K-12 school in the state…[the result is that] students, especially minorities and those with disabilities, are now bearing the brunt of new zero tolerance policies and heavy-handed discipline…In Minneapolis…the school board recently voted in favor of…ending a $1 million [cash cow for]…city police.  Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland, Oregon, announced…that he would disband the city’s school [pig herd]…Other states and cities appear to be considering similar measures.  [But] in Florida [police violence against students] increased…20%…[and] there’s been a spike in the use of involuntary psychiatric commitments against kids…thanks to an existing Florida…that gives police authority to temporarily lock up both children and adults against their will…

The Cop Myth (#1047)

Alex Vitale on what abolishing police would actually look like:

Five years ago, in the wake of the murders of Mike Brown and Eric Garner and Tamir Rice, we were told, “Don’t worry, we’re going to fix it. We’re going to give the police implicit bias training.  We’re going to hold some community police encounter sessions.  We’re gonna buy some body cameras”…what we often refer to as “procedural reforms”…[were] going to magically fix the problem.  But…the problem of overpolicing remains…Procedural justice folks…want to restore the public’s trust in the police…But this ignores the question of what they are policing, and whether they should be policing it.  We have [millions of] low-level arrests in the United States every year and most of them are completely pointless.  It is just a huge level of harassment meted out almost exclusively on the poorest and most marginal communities in our society…[true police reform must] go…hand in hand with decriminalizing sex work, drugs, homelessness, mental illness.  We don’t really need a vice unit, we need a system of legalized sex work that’s regulated just like any other business.  We don’t need school police, we need counselors and restorative justice programs.  We don’t need police homeless outreach units, we need supportive housing, community based drop-in centers, social workers…

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